Wednesday, July 10, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Ludhiana Congmen rush to Delhi
To rally support for Amarinder
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 9
The first batch of Congress leaders from the Ludhiana area today left for New Delhi to lobby for Capt Amarinder Singh, President of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee. A Ludhiana-based senior Congress leader said mainly office-bearers of certain district units had gone to Delhi.

They would meet leaders of the party high command to plead that Capt Amarinder Singh should be allowed to continue as PPCC President. They would also try to meet Mrs Sonia Gandhi, in this connection.

There were reports that the Congress high command wanted to appoint a new PPCC President to enable Capt Amarinder Singh to concentrate on governance in the state.

It may be mentioned that a large number of candidates are in the race for the post, the front-runners being Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, Chowdhary Gurmail Singh, Mr H.S. Hanspal, Mr Sant Ram Singla and Mr Varinder Kataria. One group is pushing the case of Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, who might not suit Capt Amarinder Singh.

Sources said Capt Amarinder Singh now wanted to retain the post for some more time. He did not want the emergence of a parallel power centre in the party with the appointment of any other person not of his liking as President of the PPCC. Earlier, he was eager to quit the office of President of the PPCC as he was unable to pay proper attention to the party work but now he has dropped the idea, according to informed sources. The strategy to send partymen to Delhi in support of Capt Amarinder Singh had been devised by a think-tank closely associated with him. However, in most states ruled by the Congress, the party high command has followed the principle of one man, one post.


S.S. Johl to be Pbi varsity VC?
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 9
Is the Punjab Government persuading Dr Sardara Singh Johl to take up the onerous task of steering Punjabi University, Patiala, out of its present mess till it finds an academic of repute to be its next full-time Vice-Chancellor?

The university, bogged down by controversies and continuing without a head for some months now , reopened yesterday. Incidentally, Patiala is not only the home town of the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, but also the parliamentary constituency of his wife, Ms Parneet Kaur.

Uncertainty prevails on the campus as Mr Nripinder Singh Rattan, Principal Secretary, Higher Education, holding the additional charge of the Vice-Chancellor, has been grappling with the problem of shuttling between Chandigarh and Patiala to keep both his “heavy-load offices” working.

Though the Chief Minister has made it clear that he would like an “academic of repute to head the university”, the high powered search committee comprising Dr R.P. Bambah, Dr J.S. Neki and Dr H.K. Manmohan Singh, after holding two meetings has reportedly shortlisted some names.

Investigations reveal that the names of a famous Punjabi writer and a former journalist-cum-writer were shortlisted by two of the members of the search committee.

“I am told that the committee has shortlisted some names. But the file has not come to me so far,” says Mr Y.S. Ratra, Chief Secretary, Punjab, maintaining that the Principal Secretary, Higher Education, Mr N.S. Rattan, was trying to get in touch with the Chief Minister on the issue.

The Chief Minister has reportedly made known his intention of not putting any “bureaucrat” as the next Vice-Chancellor of the university. At one stage, the government was toying with the idea of approaching Mr Chiranjeev Singh, an IAS officer of the Karnataka cadre, for the Punjabi University vice-chancellorship. Mr Chiranjeev Singh, who has just returned after a five-year stint as India’s Ambassador to UNESCO in Paris, is a linguist of repute and is well-versed in 13 languages.

He has, however, expressed his inability to accept the offer as he is at present Principal Secretary, Finance, in Karnataka.

Another proposal before the government was to appoint an academician from outside the state. The name of a former Vice-Chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University also came up for consideration. The idea was, however, dropped.

“It is nearly impossible for anyone to do justice to both academic and administrative affairs of the university with one-day-a-week presence on the campus, especially when the institution has been passing through a most critical period in its history,” remarked an academician.

Investigations reveal that ongoing controversies have made the academic atmosphere on the campus far from conducive and congenial for academic pursuits. Though after taking over the charge of officiating Vice-Chancellor, Mr Rattan did appoint a new Dean, Academics, and a Dean Students Welfare, yet things have not progressed the way they should.

Because of his official commitments, Mr Rattan has been unable to visit the university for the past two weeks. It is for the first time that a meeting of the selection committee had to be shifted to Chandigarh today.

There are problems in the examination branch also. Things are not working out well there too, as the complaints are multiplying. The solution, according to students and teachers, lies in the appointment of an academic of repute as a fulltime Vice-Chancellor.

Keeping in view the interests of the students and teachers about to start a new academic session, it has been proposed that Dr Sardara Singh Johl, Vice-Chairman of the state Planning Board, who only yesterday submitted his interim report on diversification in agriculture, could be persuaded to take over the reins of the university at least for a year, till his successor is selected and groomed under him.


PTU VC’s successor: panel violative of PTU Act
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 9
Term of the Punjab Technical University Vice-Chancellor Dr H.S. Gurm expires on July 11.

Dr Gurm was appointed Vice-Chancellor in July 2000. His term was extended by one year by the then SAD-BJP government as the Punjab Technical University Act-1996 specified that the term of the VC should be three years. The second term given to Dr Gurm by the previous government in 2001 was again of one year in violation to the provisions of the PTU Act-1996.

Several persons are said to be in race for the top PTU post. Formation of a search committee comprised of Principal Secretary Punjab Technical Education Department, Director Technical Education, Punjab a former Vice-Chancellor of the PTU and an industrialist, has raised controversy as it was set up allegedly in violation of the spirit of the PTU-Act-1996. The Act says that the search committee for selection of the Vice-Chancellor should be of three persons of eminence in the fields of industry, technology or technical education and not officials of the Technical Education Department in majority. Such high-powered committee, according to the Act, was to be constituted by the Board of Governors. But no one in the PTU was clear who constituted the “high-powered committee, as the Board of Governors have not met after the formation of the Captain Amarinder Singh Government, even as meetings were scheduled three times by the Chairman of the Board of Governors of the PTU-cum-Punjab Technical Education Minister Mr Mohinder Singh Kaypee. But these meetings were allegedly postponed at the 11th hour by the minister himself.

The Punjab Technical Education Department, sources said had demanded Rs 50,000 from the PTU authorities towards the expenses of the “high-powered search committee”, but after the amount was sent by the PTU authorities, nobody in the department received the money.

When contacted Minister Mohinder Singh Kaypee admitted that a four-member “search committee” has been formed but he did not remember the names of the committee members. He said the committee would shortlist the names and it had already received five-six applications from various eminent persons. The selection was likely to take some time as the process is lengthy and cumbersome, said Mr Kaypee.

Sources in the department said a number of power centres in the bureaucracy wished to allow the deadline of July 11 to lapse so that the charge of the university could be given to some of their “favoured” person, preferably, a bureaucrat as an Acting VC of the university. According to the PTU Act, nobody except the Pro-Vice Chancellor, could perform the duties of the VC, in the absence of the VC.


Gurdwara judicial panel was behind Tohra’s removal
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 9
The Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission, which controls the functioning and operation of the gurdwara management directly, and substantially, has been responsible for the unceremonious removal of the SGPC chief and Jathedar, Akal Takht, for political reasons in the past.

Ever since the constitution of the judicial commission, its members have been influencing the decisions of the SGPC. It is said that any ruling party in the state could influence the functioning of the SGPC or even Akal Takht if it had members of the judicial commission in its favour. After parting with Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, the then SGPC chief, the Badal government had removed the members of the judicial commission by rescinding its notification. Mr Badal was told that the judicial commission could play a vital role in turning fortunes in his favour. The new commission was later responsible for the unceremonious removal of the then SGPC chief, Mr Tohra, and Jathedar Akal Takht, Bhai Ranjit Singh. Mr Kulwant Singh, former secretary, SGPC, while talking to TNS admitted that it was he who had suggested to Mr Badal to appoint a new commission if he wanted to get rid of Mr Tohra and Bhai Ranjit Singh. Mr Kulwant Singh said though the then SGPC chief, Mr Tohra, was not ready to call a meeting, it was the judicial commission which issued directions to hold a meeting on February 10. Though Mr Tohra and some executive members, who were loyal to him, boycotted the meeting, 10 members (of the Badal group) decided to remove Bhai Ranjit Singh as Jathedar, Akal Takht, and appointed an inquiry committee against Prof Manjit Singh and Giani Kewal Singh — both jathedars. Mr Kulwant Singh alleged that many Akali stalwarts, including Master Tara Singh, Mr Tohra, Mr Badal and Mr Barnala, had sought favours from the judicial commission from time to time.

The Lachhman Singh government had disbanded the judicial commission in the sixties. However, it was revived on the directions of the court.

It has been noticed that certain members are frequent visitors to the SGPC office. They freely mix with the people instead of keeping judicial aloofness. Rather the office is used to develop relations to promote their legal practice.

The Punjab Government appoints the members of the judicial commission. The appointment of one member depends entirely on the choice of the government while the other two are appointed by it out of a list of seven persons which is prepared by the SGPC. The former is generally known as the official member. The government had been appointing the official member, generally from the judiciary.

A departure from this convention was made in 1960 when Giani Kartar Singh was appointed as the official member. The SGPC objected to it and challenged his appointment on the plea that the official member must be from the Bench. He should not be an advocate. However, the high court turned down the plea. Another variation in the practice was made in 1981 when Mr Raghbir Singh Sandhu was appointed the official member of the commission and his name also figured in the list prepared and maintained by the SGPC.

Thus, all three members are appointed from amongst the nominees of the SGPC. Its members have rarely been from the judicial elite since two out of the three members are to be appointed from a list submitted by the SGPC. They are generally persons who enjoy patronage of the SGPC. A majority of decisions go, therefore in favour of the SGPC. The commission helps in increasing the institutional influence of the SGPC.

In March 1983, the Punjab Government had issued a notification exercising its powers under clause four of Section 79 removing the President and another member of the judicial commission from their respective offices.

Meanwhile, even as the Shiromani Akali Dal, headed by Mr Parkash Singh Badal, has described the reconstitution of the judicial commission as ‘unconstitutional’, the All-India Sikh Students Federation has justified the action of the government.

In a press note issued here today, Mr Harminder Singh Gill, president, AISSF, said a number of petitions will be filed against the alleged violation rules of the SGPC by the judicial commission. He also indicated that a case would also be filed against Mr Sucha Singh Langah, former Akali minister, for organising 501 ‘paths’ of the Ramayana at Dhariwal in violation of the Sikh rehat maryada. Mr Gill said cases might be filed against Mr Badal and Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar in the coming days.


Badungar serves notices on Tohra, Bhaniara
Our Correspondent

Patiala, July 9
Shiromani Gurdwara Parban- dhak Committee President Kirpal Singh Badungar today disclosed that he had served legal notices on Sarb-Hind Shiromani Akali Dal President Gurcharan Singh Tohra, Sukhdev Singh Bhaur and Baba Piara Singh Bhaniara for their statements, alleging that the SGPC President was a follower and had been associated with Bhaniara.

Speaking to the media here today, Mr Badungar said he had never been associated with Piara Singh Bhaniara and had not visited his dera. He further said these allegations had been levelled to derive political mileage and tarnish his image.


Brar challenges Tohra’s statement
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, July 9
Mr Manmohan Singh Brar, former Chairman of the Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission has challenged the statement of Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, President of the SHSAD, that a writ petition would be filed before the new members of the Sikh Gurdwara Commission to seek the reappointment of Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, senior Akali leader, as the SGPC Secretary.

Stating this here today, Mr Brar said under the Sikh Gurdwara Act, Mr Calcutta was not eligible as he had crossed the age of 58. He said Dr Gurbachan Singh Bachan had to resign from the post of SGPC Secretary on the same grounds recently.


Book 4 Cong leaders on graft charges: Badal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 9
SAD president Parkash Singh Badal today described as shocking the statement of Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh criticising transferred ADGP (Intelligence) A.P. Bhatnagar for making public the truth about the disappearance of over Rs 2 crore from bank lockers and for alleging that money had changed hands “at the highest level” in the jobs-for-cash scam.

“The Chief Minister should make public if he has any evidence of Mr Bhatnagar giving him a contrary opinion on the subject. Till then, he should either respond to the questions raised by Mr. Bhatnagar and other high-ranking officers or just admit that these officers had become inconvenient for his suspect designs,” Mr Badal said in a statement issued today the Akali leader reiterated his party’s demand for handing over the entire case to an independent central agency. “Allegations of massive corruption have been made implicating the Chief Minister’s Office. Capt Amarinder Singh, owes it to the people to come clean on these allegations”, the former Chief Minister said. Mr Badal also reiterated his party’s demand that the four Congress leaders indicted by the Lokpal must be booked on charges of corruption. Those in the government must be dismissed and arrested forthwith. His party, Mr Badal said, would not allow the Chief Minister to carry out political vendetta against his rivals on the one hand and protecting corrupt people within his government and party on the other.

The Chief Minister’s silence on the real reasons behind the transfer of the intelligence top brass was intriguing. “If the government has nothing to hide, why is it scared of an independent probe into the whole affair? And why is the Chief Minister not explaining his personal role in the Vigilance Bureau going slow against key witnesses in the case?” the Akali leader asked. Mr. Badal asked the Chief Minister to respond to the implicit indictment of his Vigilance Bureau by the Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The Chief Minister must explain as to who in his opinion, was telling the truth — the Vigilance Bureau or the Chief Justice?, the Akali leader said.


Tangri’s citadel broken
Huge cache of arms, weapons seized
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 9
The police raided the alleged illegal citadel of Shiv Sena (Rashtravadi) chief Jagdish Tangri this evening and seized a huge cache of arms, including sharp edged weapons, besides demolishing illegal structures and huge iron gates erected at the two entrance points of the market.

The demolition squad consisting of bulldozers and covered by over 200 policemen primarily targeted the huge iron gates. The gates were seen as a physical as well as psychological barriers for the people as well as the administration.

It had happened several times in the past that the accused Tangri and his supporters allegedly had closed the gates when any team of the police, sales tax or the Punjab State Electricity Board had raided the premises to check the illegal activity. The teams trapped inside were beaten up and released only after negotiations by the department concerned. Several times common men were also trapped inside and tortured.

The police team also seized hundreds of swords, long and small knives besides some guns from a shop which was allegedly used as a store house of arms by the accused. The police said it would make an inventory of the arms and register cases against persons running the shop.

The work of the police was made easy as the market consisting of over 200 shops was closed since yesterday after the police raided the market to nab Jagdish Tangri, his son Sunil Tangri and several other accused. Mr Naunihal Singh SP (City-I) and DSP Sandeep Goel led the police team. Talking to The Tribune they said the iron gates were illegal and the encroachments were bound to be demolished. Officials from the civil administration accompanied the police team.

The market is in news for the last over four days ever since the police raided it to check shopkeepers indulging in preparation of duplicate audio and video CD’s. The raid acquired sensational proportions when Tangri and his men, who allegedly sheltered the shopkeepers resisted the police action. They had prepared petrol bombs and other weapons to counter any further police action.


Water levels of dams falling
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service


  • Water level in the Pong dam is at 1285 elevation feet, the lowest since June 22, 1978.
  • Level in the Ranjit Sagar dam is just two metre away from hitting the bottom.
  • Lack of rain is the chief reason.
  • Demand for power in the ongoing sowing season has depleted the water reserves in the Ranjit Sagar dam.

Chandigarh, July 9
Lack of rain and a sharp rise in the demand for power has taken a silent toll. Two of the three main water reservoirs in the region, the Pong dam and the Ranjit Sagar dam, have almost dried up thanks to a delayed monsoon and a lack of pre-monsoon showers in the region.

The only saving grace is the good water level in the massive lake of the Bhakra dam which is now serving as a workhorse to meet a large part of the irrigation and drinking water requirements of the region. In the Pong dam the level of 1285 elevation feet is just 5 feet above the lowest point of 1280 elevation feet. Never has the level dropped below this level.

The Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) is releasing about 32,000 cusecs of water from the Bhakra and due to this the power generation at the dam has been 35 per cent higher than usual.

Member Irrigation BBMB, Mr S.K. Duggal, admits: “We are managing the water requirements through the Bhakra, however, rains are required to fill the Pong dam.”

So far the conditions have not demanded that we classify it as a dry year, said a source. A dry year means the share of water to the partner states of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan is reduced and re-fixed. Another look will be taken at the situation within a few days.

On the other hand , the Bhakra dam had been filling up at a steady rate due to healthy snow melt. Actually last winter the snowfall was also very good and with a very good summer the melt has been fast. And despite no rain the inflows into the dam are close to 40,000 cusecs. Even the level in the 120 km lake of the dam is 41 elevation feet higher than what it was last year. Today it was 1584 elevation feet. The dam when filled up has level of 1680 feet.

However, it is the Ranjit Sagar dam – located on the River Ravi in Gurdaspur district – where alarm bells are ringing. The reservoir was depleting due to lack of rains. The dam fills up from the outflow of the Chamera dam in Chamba.

The level of water today stood at 489 elevation metres just two metres above the dead storage level of 487 elevation metres. At this level the turbines generating power stop working. It will be just a few days before the dam will have no water.

The Indian Meteorological Department has said the rains are coming. It is just that they have been delayed for some time due to local factors.


Randhawa remanded till July 12
Our Correspondent

Kharar, July 9
Mr Roshan Lal Chouhan, Judicial Magistrate, Kharar, today remanded Kulbir Singh Randhawa, a former member of the Punjab Subordinate Services Selection Board (PSSSB), who was arrested by the Punjab Vigilance Bureau yesterday, in police remand till July 12.

Mr Jatinderjeet Singh Punn, public prosecutor and the DSP, Vigilance, Mr Jaswinder Singh, sought a police remand for 14 days. Mr Punn informed the court that the accused was a member of the PSSSB from 1997 to February 2002, during which he amassed wealth worth crores, disproportionate to his known sources of the income, by out-of-turn appointments. He alleged that the accused had built a palatial bungalow at Batala worth Rs 1 crore in the name of his wife and son on 30 marlas.

The accused had also purchased a plot measuring 5 kanals and 4 marlas at Batala in the name of his wife for Rs 75,000 though the value was about Rs 50 lakh. Mr Punn alleged that the accused had shares in an LML scooter agency in Jalandhar. He also alleged that family of the accused had shares worth Rs 25 lakh in a finance company at SAS Nagar and an FDR of Rs 4 lakh in another company.

Mr Punn alleged that the accused had about 15 accounts in different banks. He alleged that the accused had only two acres in 1997 and now he had amassed property worth crores.

He pleaded for police remand as information was yet to be received about the source of this property.

The defence counsel refuted the charge of the prosecution and said the accused appeared before the Vigilance Bureau on Monday. He said for the last five weeks he had been appearing before the Vigilance Bureau, every Monday. He said accused had not been given a seven days notice as per the orders passed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The court gave permission to the defence counsel to meet the accused daily for one hour and allowed medical facility to the accused.


Jagman’s bail plea rejected again
Tribune News Service

Ropar, July 9
Mr A.S. Kathuria, Special Judge, today rejected the bail application of Jagman Singh, a right-hand man of Ravinder Pal Singh Sidhu, suspended PPSC Chairman. Jagman Singh is now public approver.

Jagman Singh had sought bail this time under Section 167 (2), CrPC (non-presentation of challan by the prosecution with in the stipulated period). His earlier bail applications had been rejected by the Sessions Judge.

In his order, the Special Judge mentioned that the provision of Section 167 (2) was not applicable to Jagman Singh instead the statutory provisions of Section 306, CrPC, laid down that a person who had turned approver shall, unless he was already on bail, be detained until the termination of the trial.

In view of these provisions, accused Jagman Singh could not claim the benefit of bail.


PPSC examiner suspended
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 9
The Punjabi University authorities today suspended Prof Gurpal Singh of the Department of Law, who is in the midst of a controversy following his arrest for overwriting and making cuttings on answer sheets of candidates appearing for the PCS (Judicial) examination conducted by the PPSC.

According to sources, Prof Gurpal Singh had been suspended keeping in mind the Punjab Government’s service rules which stipulate that any employee who spends more than 48 hours in police lock-up should be suspended forthwith. At present, he has been remanded in judicial custody till July 17.


Doctors sit on hunger strike
Our Correspondent

Patiala, July 9
In response to a call given by the PCMS Association, Punjab, PCMS doctors here sat on a one-day hunger strike and organised a rally to protest against the reported threat of the state government regarding blanket termination of all 872 doctors selected during the tenure of suspended PPSC Chairman Ravinder Pal Singh Sidhu.

The state president of the association, Dr Hardeep Singh, urged the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to ensure that innocent doctors were not punished for the corrupt deeds of others. He further said punishment should be meted out to only those found guilty of using unfair means to get jobs.


Tota Singh’s remand extended
Tribune News Service

Ropar, July 9
Mr A.S. Kathuria, Special Judge, Ropar, today extended the judicial remand till July 23 of Jathedar Tota Singh, a former Punjab Education Minister and senior Akali leader, in a criminal and corruption case registered against him by the Vigilance Bureau. Jathedar Tota Singh was produced in the court of the Special Judge here after the expiry of his earlier judicial remand today. The Special Judge fixed July 17 as the next date of hearing on the bail application of Jathedar Tota Singh.


Kidnapped girl recovered, 2 held
Tribune Reporters

Amritsar, July 9
The sensational high-level drama regarding the kidnapping of a minor, a sixth standard student, was solved with the recovery of the girl, along with the arrest of her “kidnappers”, by the Tarn Taran police.

The girl, Menu (13), was allegedly kidnapped in broad daylight by two Maruti van-borne unidentified persons from Jalandhar yesterday which created panic in the city. However, after investigations, the police found that the kidnapping was high-level drama enacted with the consent of the minor. One of the kidnappers had reportedly developed “relations” with the minor. The kidnapper resides next to the house of Menu.

According to Mr Narinder Bhargav, district police chief, Tarn Taran, the police has arrested Anokh Singh (18) and his brother-in-law Gurnam Singh from Sirhali. He said they had been taken into custody by members of the juvenile delinquency squad which was set up by DGP recently.

The SSP said the suspects had kidnapped the minor in a hired Maruti van which they abandoned at Jandiala. Then they look the girl to Chinna Bidhi Chand in Tarn Taran police district to the house of their relative. A member of the juvenile delinquency squad spotted the girl, whose picture they had seen on the front page of a daily newspaper.

Mr Bhargav said the girl and her “kidnappers” were being handover to the Jalandhar police. He said the parents of the girl had also been called so that she could be handed over to them.

Earlier in Jalandhar, the police resorted to a lathi charge to disperse hundreds of residents of New Aman Nagar who blocked traffic near the DAV College railway level-crossing in protest against the “failure” of the police to arrest the kidnappers”. Six persons, including two women, were injured during the lathi charge.

The residents raised anti-police slogans. Though senior police officials reached the spot and tried to pacify the agitators they refused to lift the blockade.

When some youths overturned a “rehri” and garbage-collection vehicle the police resorted to a lathi charge to disperse the mob. Six persons received minor injuries in the lathi charge.

Mr Paramjit Singh Gill, SSP, Jalandhar, said the police resorted to a mild cane charge when some persons tried to damage public property under the garb of dharna.


Anti-encroachment campaign shelved
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, July 9
The joint anti-encroachment campaign by the traffic police and the municipal committee has been shelved.

At a meeting held yesterday, SP (headquarters) R.K. Jaswal and MC executive officer Vijay Kumar Sharma blamed each other for shelving of the campaign.

Some prominent citizens, who also attended the meeting, however, said that the campaign had been shelved because officials concerned had failed to act against influential persons.

The citizens alleged that many unauthorised structures, owned by influential persons and their supporters, had remained untouched during the campaign.

It may be mentioned that a high court Judge, on an official inspection here, had directed the president of the municipal committee to clear the town of encroachments.


Drive against corruption: Beopar Mandal backs CM
Our Correspondent

Abohar, July 9
Mr Madan Lal Kapoor, president of the Punjab Pradesh Beopar Mandal said that a trader helping the Vigilance Department catch red-handed a gazetted officer taking bribe would be given cash reward of Rs 25000 and an appreciation letter by the mandal.

He was addressing a Press conference after presiding over a meeting of the mandal. He said all brave traders would be honoured at a state-level function.

State vice-president of the mandal Mr Ashwani Kumar, district president, Mr Brahm Parkash Bhusari, Yuva Beopar Mandal president Rakesh Dhuria, organising secretary Raju Nagpal, Mr Vijay Golchha and Mr Suresh Satija president Pesticides Fertilisers Dealers Association also attend the meeting. They said local trader Sat Pal would be honoured next month for helping in the arrest of an agriculture development officer here last week.

He termed the earlier SAD-BJP government as the “most corrupt”.

He said the mandal had offered to submit a list of 125 most corrupt officers to the earlier SAD-BJP government but the then Chief Minister refused to listen. Appreciating the crusade against corruption of the present government, Mr Kapoor cautioned against pressure form different quarters on the Chief Minister. He asserted that the Excise and Taxation Department was the den of corruption. He wanted raids on the “posh” houses of the officers of this department. The mandal would provide useful clues, he offered.

The meeting gave call to the traders all over Punjab to stop paying monthly amounts to various departments. In case of harassment by any officer on this account the mandal, should be informed will lay the trap, he assured. The mandal requested the Chief Minister to appeal before the Supreme Court against the judgement of the Punjab and Haryana High Court regarding the abolition of the octroi. He wanted the Congress to fulfil promises made to traders and no Municipal Council be allowed to harass people by auctioning octroi posts till August 15.

The meeting demanded that Sales Tax structure be simplified, uniform tax system introduced in the north zone. The mandal suggested heavy tax on liquor and automobiles. There was no need at the moment to expand the Cabinet. The meeting opined and desired that expenditure of government be cut.


Officials of Revenue Dept strike work
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, July 9
The officials of the Revenue Department of the district, today observed a strike in protest against the “unjustified and humiliating raids” being conducted by the Vigilance Department. Giving this information, Mr Karnail Singh, a local tehsildar, said the revenue officials of the Jalandhar division had observed a strike and tomorrow the revenue officials of the state would observe a strike against the callous attitude of the state government. Mr Karnail Singh said if there was specific complaint against any official, the government should conduct a departmental inquiry against him.

TARN TARAN: On the first day of the two-day strike call given by the Document Writers Union, Punjab, the local unit of the union, observed a strike today, and staged a dharna in the local tehsil complex against the raids conducted by the Vigilance Bureau in the state. Mr Sudarshan Kumar Sharma, local unit president, addressed the gathering.


Abohar MC chief indicted
Our Correspondent

Abohar, July 9
Mr Babu Ram Arya, president, and Mr Harbhajan Singh, former Executive Officer, respectively, of the municipal council here have reportedly been indicted for tempering the minutes’ book of the council. An inquiry report had been submitted to the Director, Local Government, in June in this regard.

Complaints had been lodged against the officers by the public, besides five members of the council in May, referring to the proceedings of the meeting held on April 29.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr D. K. Tiwari, had asked a PCS officer, Mr Desh Deepak, attached with the Divisional Commissioner, to hold an inquiry.

The stenographer of the council deposed that Mr Arya, under his own signatures had called a meeting on April 29 to consider the agenda of the meetings which could not be held in the past. Two meetings had been postponed but the House discussed the agenda dated March 14 on April 29. Some items had been skipped.

She confessed that changes had been made in the minutes’ book using an erasing liquid under the orders of the Executive Officer. Four councillor had in their statements endorsed the allegations.

Sources said it was pointed out during the inquiry that the President had already been served with a show-cause notice by the government for the alleged misuse of powers under Section 35 of the Punjab Municipal Act.


PSEB employees protest against Budget proposals
Our Correspondent

Patiala, July 9
Employees of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) and the Punjab Kirti Dal, led by Mr Charanjit Singh Walia, former MP and president of the Punjab State Services Federation, held a dharna outside the office of the Deputy Commissioner(DC) here today to protest against the state Budget proposals.

Mr Walia said the Congress government instead of fulfilling commitments made to the employees during the Assembly elections had withdrawn all their allowances. He stressed that the state government must immediately withdraw the Budget proposals pertaining to the ban on LTC freezing of DA and change of medical allowance to insurance.

The agitating employees demanded a reversal of the government’s decision regarding closure of 20 board corporations and handing over of several government departments to panchayat. The employees further demanded that the cess on petrol should be taken back as this decision had hit the working class hard. Pressing for the implementation of the recommendation of the 4th Pay Commission relating to pensioners and women staff, the employees demanded that all withdrawn facilities be restored at the earliest.

Mr Walia stressed that if the employees’ demands were not agreed to immediately, they would be forced to observe a hunger strike. He also said a call of state-level strike would be given in September.

Others who addressed the dharna included Mr Surinderjit Singh Walia, Mr Tejinder Singh Lohgarh, Mr Kuldip Singh Ugani and Mr Harvinder Singh Toni.


PWHC Manager arrested
Our Correspondent

Abohar, July 9
Baljit Singh Jakhar, Manager, Punjab Warehousing Corporation (PWHC) here, was arrested yesterday in connection with siphoning off wheat from the Kandhwala road godown here. He was remanded in police custody for further interrogation.

Meanwhile, the MD of the PWHC has ordered the suspension of Jakhar, Assistant Manager Brij Lal Godara and three other employees with immediate effect. SHO Raj Kumar said the police had earlier arrested four persons — Sunil Kumar and Praveen Kumar, flour mill owners, and Ramesh Kumar and Paramjit Singh — while taking away 53 bags of wheat from a PWHC godown on July 1.


No’ injury marks on prisoner’s body
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, July 9
The preliminary postmortem examination report of Binder Singh, an inmate of the district jail, Bathinda, who died at the local Guru Gobind Singh Medical College and Hospital under mysterious circumstances in the wee hours yesterday has revealed that there were no injury marks on the body. This was stated by Dr J.S. Dalal, Head of the Forensic Department and acting Principal of the college, while talking to this correspondent here today.

He said the viscera of the body of the deceased had been sent to the Pathology Department of the college while a part of the stomach had been forwarded to Government Rajindra Medical College, Patiala.


Unfair’ allotment of petrol stations
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 9
Mr Narinder Kumar Gupta of Rampura Phul has urged the Director of the CBI to conduct an inquiry into the allotment of petrol stations and gas agencies in the district last year.

In an affidavit to the Director, he alleged that the authorities concerned has ignored those who had experience in the field and allotted the petrol stations and gas agencies to those who were new in the business.

He also alleged that lakhs of rupees exchanged during the allotment process.


PSEB decision on RTP schools opposed
Tribune News Service

Ropar, July 9
The Ropar Thermal Plant (RTP) unit of the Employees Federation of the PSEB today opposed the proposed move of the board to hand over two schools and dispensaries of the RTP to the government.

In a press note here, the Employees Federation condemned the recommendations, made by the General Manager of the RTP with regard to the handing over of the schools and dispensaries to the government.

Mr Bhag Chand Sharma, finance secretary of the RTP unit of the federation, said the RTP schools had been showing better results as compared to government schools.


Bid to loot petrol station, 3 held
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 9
A bid to loot a petrol station in Kotshamir village was foiled with the arrest of three youths Jagdev Singh, Balwant Singh and Sadhu Ram.

Mr Ishwar Singh, SSP at a press conference today, said the three were arrested following a tip-off regarding their activities.

The three were arrested from an abandoned mixing plant at Jodhpur Pakhar village. Jagdev Singh and Balwant Singh were from Bhai Bakhtaur village while Sadhu Ram was of Jodhpur Pakhar.

The police has seized a .32 bore pistol and a .315 bore pistol and some sharp-edged weapons from their possession.

They confessed that earlier they had planned to loot banks at Mansa, Maur Mandi and Bhuchu Mandi.

A case has been registered under Sections 393, 398 and 511 of the PICK and under Section 25 of the Arms Act.


Five arrested for computer thefts
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 9
The district police has achieved a major breakthrough in the computer theft cases, which took place in the city, by arresting five members of a gang, who later on shifted from thefts to contract killings.

Inderbir Singh Shani, a resident of the Ajit Road locality in the city, who headed the gang, along with the other four members, was arrested by the police on a tip-off while the gang was planning to loot a rich person in the city. Earlier, the gang members had visited Sriganganagar and Chandigarh to kill the wife and another kin of a local doctor, Harinder Singh, by taking “supari” (contract money) of Rs 2.50 lakh. However, they failed to execute the killings.

Mr Ishwar Singh, district police chief, said today that two country-made pistols with cartridges were recovered from the suspects identified as Inderbir Singh Shani, Sukhdev Singh, Sukhwinder Singh, Vikas Kumar and Binder Kumar.

Their other accomplices, who managed to give the police the slip were Manoj Kumar Fauji, Rohitas Kumar, Suresh Kumar, Raju and Bobby.

The suspects, most of them drug addicts, confessed that they had stolen computers from Bibi Wala Road and Mall Road, had snatched gold chains from women near Bhagu Road, Dhobi Bazar, Veer Colony, Hanuman Chowk, Gurudwara Singh Sabha and Gole Diggi, and had stolen 10 kg of silver from a shop at Mehna Chowk, besides a scooter from Sardulgarh town in Mansa district. They also confessed to some other crimes.

Mr Ishwar Singh said on the basis of information provided by them, some more persons, who were purchasing the stolen goods knowingly, were also arrested. They included Sunil Goyal, Narinder Pal Singh, Harpreet Singh, Satish Kumar, Manoj Kumar and Mohinder Singh. Two monitors, besides other computer-related equipment, were recovered from them.


Boy helps father kill mother
Our Correspondent

Abohar, July 9
In a bizare incident, a 16-year-old boy, Ved Kumar, allegedly helped his father kill his mother.

According to information received from Lalgarh Jatan police station in Sriganganagar district, the body of Bhagwanti (40) was found in a pool of blood at her residence at Kheechrianwali village this morning. The only witness to the gruesome murder was the daughter of the victim, 10-year-old Suman, who was found wailing near the body.

Sources said Bhagwanti’s husband Lal Chand had deserted her in 1988 suspecting her of loose character. He had since been running a barber’s shop in Suratgarh and visited the village once in a while to look after his land.

While their two daughters were married, Suman and Ved Kumar lived with their mother. For the past few months, residents of the village had started telling Ved Kumar the reasons why his father deserted his mother, the sources said.

The police said Ved Kumar also started suspecting his mother’s character and left the village last month. It appeared that he had gone to live with his father in Suratgarh and discuss the matter with him. The father and son visited their house in the village and allegedly attacked Bhagwanti with a sharp-edged weapon. When Suman tried to intervene she was also injured.

According to a statement given by Suman her father and brother took turns in assaulting Bhagwanti till she died. Before leaving, they also disconnected the telephone wires in the house.

It was only when Lal Chand’s younger brother Om Parkash visited the house in the moring that the incident came to light.

The body has been handed over to Bhagwanti’s parents after a post-mortem examination. The police has registered a case and efforts are on to nab the alleged killers.


Couple sentenced for killing sow
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 9
In an important development which is likely to further the cause of preventing cruelty to animals, a local court today sentenced a couple to three years of imprisonment each besides levelling a fine of Rs 50 each on them for killing a sow in March this year.

The couple —Jassa Singh and Jaswant Kaur — of Ror Jagir village under the Julkan police station, were accused of having killed the sow after beating the animal brutally with wooden sticks. The couple was running a piggery business and the sow was part of other animals kept by them. A case was registered against them on March 29, 2002 under Section 429 of the Prevention of Cruelty Act.

The Judicial Magistrate, Mr S.S. Mann, found the couple guilty of the act and pronounced his judgement against them today. As many as five witnesses had deposed against the couple.


Fake cheque, degree racket busted
Our Correspondent

Malerkotla, July 9
The police today busted a racket of fake degrees, driving licences, passports and cheques with the arrest of two persons.

The DSP in a press conference said Kewal Krishan, resident of Ahmedgarh, and his accomplice Jagan Nath had been selling fake degrees, driving licences, passports and cheques for the past several years.

The police seized stamps of various government officers, including District Transport Officer, Ambala, DTO Ludhiana, DTO Patiala.

A case has been registered.


Man kills wife’s paramour, self
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, July 9
A middle-aged man reportedly committed suicide after allegedly killing his wife’s paramour at Halimwala village of the subdivision yesterday.

According to the FIR lodged by Surinder Kumar, his brother Mangat Ram was murdered by Jeet Singh with a sharp-edged weapon as he suspected that the victim had illicit relations with his wife. After this, he returned to his house and died after consuming some poisonous substance.


1 held for showing blue films to kids
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 9
The police has arrested a person, Sagar Sharma, who used to lure children by showing them pornographic films.

The accused used to show these films to children in the area where he used to run a music shop. He was booked under the Copyright Act.


Two women booked
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, July 9
Two women are among three persons booked for the murder of Mohan Singh a resident of Marri Gaur Singh village, two days ago.


PTU urged to upgrade syllabi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 9
The Punjab Unaided Technical Institutions Association has urged Punjab Technical University (PTU) to upgradate the syllabi for various degree courses. The association has demanded that only relevant chapters of various subjects should be retained and others slashed.

Dr J.S. Dhaliwal, President of the Association, said here today that about 70 per cent of the 7000 students in degree courses studied in unaided technical institutions. And the same was true of diploma courses.

The association had sought representation for two of its members on the PTU Board of Governors and also on the State Board of Technical Education. Dr Dhaliwal said though their institutions catered to the needs of such a vast number of students they had no say in the academic affairs of the university.

The association, which had decided to honour toppers of their respective institutions, had demanded that against all vacant seats in the IInd year of the degree course, admission should be allowed to diploma-holders under the lateral entry scheme. Now only 10 per cent of the seats in the IInd year of the degree course could be filled from among diploma holders.

The association demanded that there should be no condition of mathematics for admission to the MCA course. Now there was a requirement of “knowledge of mathematics at the 10 plus two level” along with a graduation degree in any stream for admission to the MCA course. There should be one subject of mathematics in the MCA course which should be compulsory to clear in the annual examinations.


Teachers seek cancellation of FIR
Tribune News Service

Ropar, July 9
Describing the manhandling of Dr Malti Batra, District Education Officer (Primary), in her office here on July 6 allegedly by leaders of the district unit of the Government Teachers’ Union, Punjab, as a “fabricated” story, the Union leaders, including Mr Sucha Singh Khatra, state general secretary of the union have demanded the cancellation of the FIR registered against them.

Talking to mediapersons here today, Mr Khatra, Mr Pritam Singh, senior vice-president of the district unit of the union, Punjab, and Mr Kuldip Singh, district secretary of the union, also demanded an inquiry into the July 6 incident by an independent agency. They claimed that on July 6 they were not in the town as they had gone to attend a joint convention of the Left parties at Jalandhar, besides attending meeting of the Malzood —Mulazam Coordination Committee, and a meeting with other employees leaders at Jalandhar till late evening.

A deputation of the union also met the SSP, Ropar, Mr Gurpreet Singh Bhullar.

Meanwhile, the SSP has ordered an inquiry into the incident and entrusted the same to Mr S.P.S. Parmar, SP (D), Ropar, for looking into the case.


Panel for SCs pulls up DPI
Our Correspondent

Abohar, July 9
The National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes has censured the DPI (P), Punjab, for its indifferent attitude towards complaints against officers.

In a letter to Ms Hardyal Kaur, DPI (P), by the commission, Mr Tanzin Wangyal observed that the allegations levelled against a District Education Officer (DEO) formerly posted at Ferozepore, and now at Faridkot, were very serious and needed immediate inquiry.

The commission instructed the DPI (P) to institute a high-level inquiry against the DEO, and furnish the report, besides the action-taken report, to the commission within 15 days.

The complaint against the DEO had been submitted by Mr Kulwant Singh Bhatti, a leader of the Ekta Bhalai Manch for Scheduled Castes, Backward Classes and Scheduled Tribes.

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